Joint Media Statement: Support for the Gaza Solidarity Encampment

We, the undersigned, represent leading civil society, human rights, political, faith organisations and trade unions in New South Wales.

We will always stand together to defend the right to protest in New South Wales. Justice, peace and solidarity are our shared values.

University Students around the world recognise that their governments and institutions have failed to take meaningful action with respect to Palestine. This includes the University of Sydney, where a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” has been established.

The activists at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment are maintaining a constant 24/7 protest and are occupying parts of the University of Sydney campus. NSW Council for Civil Liberties supports their call for the Australian Government to take decisive action; including:
1. Exerting their influence, pressure and diplomatic measures to achieve a permanent ceasefire.
2. Ending Australia’s military trade with Israel.
3. Enacting sanctions against Israeli officials who have called for the denial of aid, and military and civil servants denying essential food and materials to civilians of Gaza;
4. Ensuring that the University of Sydney divests and cuts ties with Israeli Universities and weapons manufacturers; and
5. Committing additional funding of $100 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza and the West Bank.

We stand in solidarity with the activists at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment and are planning to send a contingent with food and supplies as a means of providing immediate and practical assistance. We are also in close contact with the activists and legal observers and are monitoring the welfare of the activists.

We urge the Australian Government to seriously consider the calls of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. It has been over six months since Israel commenced a military campaign against Gaza, whilst at the same time strengthening their illegal settlements in the West Bank. Over 34, 000 innocent Palestinian civilians, the majority of which are women and children, have died in the most horrific circumstances. Over 50% of the civilian population have been displaced. All of the University campuses in Gaza have been destroyed. Both Israel and Egypt are blocking humanitarian aid whilst civilians are starving.

The calls from the growing protest movements across Australia and internationally are united in one simple message: You must do more.

Comments from Lydia Shelly, President, NSW Council for Civil Liberties:

“We stand in solidarity with the student activists within the Gaza Solidarity Encampment and support their calls for the Australian Government to show meaningful leadership with respect to Palestine. The NSWCCL will always support and defend the right to protest. The increase in anti-genocide protests around the country reflects a failure in political and moral leadership of the Australian Government. Words without actions are performative only. History will show that our Government was on the wrong side of humanity and that the students demonstrated leadership when their government failed to do so.”

Comments from Ahmed Abadla, Palestine Justice Movement Sydney:

“We are deeply inspired and grateful to the student protestors who have taken a principled stance in their fight for justice. Actions like this, particularly by the youth, are what assures us that Palestinians are not alone, and that Palestine will be free.”
Media contact: [email protected]

Comments from Tzedek Collective:

“Tzedek Collective stands together with the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at the University of Sydney. Our members are in regular attendance. As Jewish students, staff, and allies, we are made to feel welcome and safe, and we endorse all demands of the encampment. We condemn the conflation of anti-zionism and criticism of Israel as antisemitism. We find these allegations disingenuous and harmful to the protection of students' right to exist in a world without racism, hate and antisemitism. We condemn the manufactured claims of antisemitism being deployed across the USA and in Australia to evict students from other Gaza solidarity encampments. The ongoing genocide in Gaza requires that the suffering of Palestinians is centred.”
Contact: [email protected]

Comments from Paul Keating, Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney Branch:

“The Maritime Union of Australia stands with our community, our members and all workers and remain collectively determined to oppose any action by Government that seeks to prevent peaceful, public assembly. Our proud history is built around grassroots action, supporting the health, safety, wages and wellbeing of workers. Peace is Union business. We stand in solidarity with the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at the University of Sydney and student globally who are protesting against the genocide in Gaza.”

Comments from Adam Connor, President of Young Labor Left NSW & Vice-President of NSW Young Labor:

“Young Labor Left supports the Gaza Solidarity Encampment in their calls for our Government and Prime Minister to urgently take action to prevent the ongoing genocide in Gaza. The Albanese Government must listen to the outrage of its constituents and act on their calls for peace, justice, and solidarity.”

Comments from the NSW Greens Party Room:

“When our Governments fail, protest provides one of the most foundational tools citizens in a healthy democracy are able to wield. The sustained protests that have swept this country provide a constant reminder that Australians want an end to the genocide in Gaza, and that the Government has failed to take diplomatic action against the State of Israel. The Greens give full solidarity and support to the students of USYD who are standing up for peace, justice and a Free Palestine.”

Comments from Muslim Women Australia:

"As an Australian Muslim women's organisation dedicated to justice, we stand in solidarity with the students and affirm that their voices contribute to this global call and awakening. We commend the courage and conviction of university students who are advocating for justice in Palestine, echoing our belief that all human life is equal and deserving of freedom and opportunity. Their actions highlight not just a protest, but a powerful demonstration that another way—a way rooted in compassion, equity, and humanity—is not only possible but necessary."

Contact: [email protected]

Comments from Australian National Imams Council:

“The protest action by students at the university is an important exercise of a democratic and civic right to highlight the aggression and conduct of Israel being inflicted on a civilian population. It is heartening to see students taking an interest in pursuing basic human rights and holding nation States to account for their conduct at a time when there is a global concern about genocide unfolding in Gaza and human right violations in the West Bank. Sydney University is also to be commended for allowing such an expression of concern by students and permitting the exercise of a freedom of speech.”

Comments from Jews Against the Occupation 1948:

“JAO48 stands in solidarity with the protestors in their principled support for the people of Gaza and for Palestinian freedom”.

Comments from Australian Palestine Advocacy Network:

"APAN supports the rights of students to protest against the genocide in Palestine. Students are leading the way where our governments are failed. It is past time for our Government to use every diplomatic level at its disposal to end this genocide."

Comments from Palestinian Christians in Australia:

"Jesus was a Palestinian revolutionary who supported the oppressed and the weak and was prosecuted himself for having the courage to challenge authorities and beliefs. Those who are standing up today and challenging governments and authorities are also being prosecuted and attacked for their beliefs. As Palestinians and as Christians we salute those
students for their courage and principles and call on those in power to embrace their humanity and do all that they can to end the genocide, liberate the Palestinians and help peace to the holy land the world."

Comments from Rachel Evans, Socialist Alliance:

"Socialist Alliance stands with the brave students encampments organising for Gaza on campuses. Western imperialist governments and their corporate universities are supporting Israel and aiding the genocide of Palestinians.  The Australian universities, like all universities in the global north, have repugnant deals with military hardware companies, exchange programs with Zionist campuses, and, in a myriad of ways, have tried to silence the voices of Palestinians and their allies. The courageous students and staff on campuses are lighting an important fire in the belly of the militarised university beast. We stand with them to win campuses free of relationships with Israel and break ties with weapons companies. We demand police, university managements and Zionist aggressors leave the student encampments alone. Solidarity is strength, unity with students, staff, and community and workers organising can sanction, and ultimately, defeat Israel. We salute the student encampments!"